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Scotland comes to “Aye-tasca” for a weekend extravaganza of Scottish culture benefiting the Chicago Scots, Illinois’ first and still oldest charity
 
The Chicago Scots invite everyone to be Scottish at the 33rd annual Scottish Festival and Highland Games, a family-friendly,  summer festival on Friday, June 14 from 4-10 pm and Saturday, June 15 from 8am-10 pm in Itasca, located at Hamilton Lakes, 1 Pierce Place.
 
The Scottish Festival & Highland Games is the largest in the Midwest, attracting 10,000-15,000 visitors. All proceeds benefit the Chicago Scots, the oldest 501c3 non-profit in Illinois. The Chicago Scots' principal charity is Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care, which offers a wide range of top-quality aging services, deeply rooted in Scottish values and informed by more than a century of experience.
 
“The Festival puts a smile on every face and warmth in every heart because we support such a great cause. At Caledonia Senior Living we offer genuine, compassionate care for all people – that’s our "Scottish Way,” said Gus Noble, President of the Chicago Scots. “We are thrilled to be back in AYE-TASCA. Everyone who is Scottish by birth, by heritage or simply by inclination is welcome. It’s become an important annual family tradition for thousands of people.”   
 
Guests will feel like they’ve been transported to Scotland without having to travel far. The Scottish Festival & Highland Games features a variety of competitions and attractions:
 
COMPETITIONS
Scottish Heavy Athletics– Nine contests of strength, balance, timing and concentration including the iconic caber toss.  Competing this year are some of the most accomplished and decorated competitors including the “Michael Jordan” of heavy athletics, Spencer Tyler who is the only athlete to hold world records in five of the nine contests simultaneously.
 
Bagpiping - The Festival hosts the largest bagpiping championship in the USA .Thousands of bagpipers and drummers perform in individual and band competitions throughout The Festival and as the suns sets on Saturday evening, they all come together to march and perform in unison at the famous spectacle of the massed bands.
 
Other competitions - Other popular competitions include the Scottish Highland Dance Championships, a rugby tournament, a shortbread contest and a classic British car show.
Feeling competitive? Attendees can also get in on the fun – at the “Knobbly Knees” contest men strut their stuff in kilts while judges determine who has the knobbliest knees; at the “Haggis Hurling” contest women compete to determine who can throw a one pound, frozen haggis the farthest while standing on a whisky barrel; and the Haggis Eating contest is the ultimate challenge of the bravest and speediest diners.
 
ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES
Children’s area - A Children’s area offers terrific fun for little ones – including Celtic crafts, miniature golf and miniature Scottish Heavy Athletics, even a Scottish Petting Zoo.
 
Music and libations- Adults can sip on single malt Scottish whisky, spirits and beer from various vendors and dine on traditional Scottish and American cuisine. Friday evening will feature the crowning of the Heather Queen, a tradition that goes back generations. Throughout the weekend guests can enjoy lively musical performances on the main stage – two high energy Celtic bands Cleghorn and the Rogues, Scottish-American honky-tonk band, John Ballantyne’s Crazy Heart and Chicago’s premier ceilidh band, the Bandicoots.
 
Scottish Heritage - The Scottish History and Genealogy areas offer opportunities for guests to discover their roots and learn about Scottish contributions to the world. Another opportunity to connect to history and family is to visit to the Scottish Clans and learn the stories of Scottish journeys to America. At the Dogs of Scotland area, guests can enjoy some terrific agility displays and meet some furry friends – the Celtic canines. And for the shopper who’s looking for something unique, the Festival features a varied Celtic marketplace where you can buy (very nearly) anything Scottish...kilts, jewelry, soccer jerseys, almost anything made from tartan and, of course, haggis.
 
Gus Noble concluded “the Scottish Festival is fun for all the family and a great way to ensure that Dad enjoys a very special Father’s Day weekend.”
 
ABOUT CHICAGO SCOTS
In 1845 immigrant Scots gathered in a burgeoning village of 12,000 residents called Chicago. They formed Illinois’ first and still oldest charity, the Illinois Saint Andrew Society. Now known as the Chicago Scots, the organization’s mission is to nourish Scottish identity through service, fellowship and celebration of Scottish culture. Around the world there are many societies that celebrate Scotland’s culture, but there is only one that has developed an elder-care community as a defined charitable purpose. For more than 100 years the Chicago Scots have served seniors and their families at Caledonia Senior Living, a five acre campus nestled in the forest preserve, just west of downtown Chicago. The Chicago Scots also reach out to the next generation by providing scholarships to students in Scotland and the USA. The Chicago Scots host events like the Scottish Festival and Highland Games to educate, entertain and promote Scottish culture. The Chicago Scots organize initiatives like the Scottish History Forum, Scottish Genealogy Society and the world's only Scottish American Museum and Hall of Fame to tell the stories of Scottish journeys to and experiences in North America. The Chicago Scots welcome everyone who is Scottish by birth, by heritage or simply by inclination.
 
TICKET INFORMATION & PRICING
Early-bird tickets purchased by April 30 for the 33rd Annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games are as follows:

Friday Only - Children 12 and under are FREE; Adults are $12; Seniors (60+) and Active Military are $8

Saturday Only - Children 3 and under are FREE; Children ages 4-12 $12; Adults are $20; Seniors (60+) and Active Military are $16

Two-Day Pass - Children under 3 are FREE; Children ages 4-12 $9.60; Adults are $28; Seniors (60+) and Active Military are $21.60

VIP Weekend Pass (21+) - $110 includes admission to festival both days, premier parking, six complimentary beers, preferred seating for the heavy athletics competitions and massed bands, with all of the benefits of the VIP tent.

VIP Weekend Pass with Whisky & Spirits Tent (21+) - $140 includes admission to festival both days, premier parking, six complimentary beers, one entry to general whisky tasting, preferred seating for the heavy athletics competitions and massed bands, with all of the benefits of the VIP tent.

VIP Weekend Pass (Family Four Pack) - $200 includes admission for two adults and two children (12 and under) for both days, premier parking, preferred seating for the heavy athletics competitions and massed bands, with all of the benefits of the VIP tent.

VIP Weekend Pass + Beer (Family Four Pack) - $260 includes admission for two adults and two children (12 and under) for both days, premier parking, twelve complimentary beers, preferred seating for the heavy athletics competitions and massed bands, with all of the benefits of the VIP tent.
 
The festival is held at Hamilton Lakes, Itasca, Illinois, located at I-290 and Thorndale Avenue. Parking is $5 per vehicle for parking on both Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15 or guests may purchase a two-day parking pass for $8.
Please note, parking passes are not available online and will need to be purchased with cash onsite. For more information, event schedules, and competition registration forms or to purchase tickets, please visit scottishfestivalchicago.org or call (708) 426-7111.

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